'I worked like a dog': Chris Tarrant on Millionaire, health and avoiding reality shows with Kerry Katona

Last year, Chris Tarrant suffered a stroke on a flight from Bangkok to London and the scary incident left the TV star with a whole new perspective on life and his career.

As well as giving up drinking whisky, on doctor’s orders, he realised he used to “work like a dog” and he’ll never do a reality show, ever, despite being constantly asked, because he doesn’t want to be “stuck on an island with Kerry Katona”.

Oh, how we’ve missed you from Saturday night telly, Chris!

Chris Tarrant promoting Channel 5 travel show 'Extreme Railways' on 'Loose Women'. Broadcast on ITV1 HD. Featuring: Chris Tarrant Where: United Kingdom When: 01 Oct 2015 Credit: Supplied by WENN **WENN does not claim any ownership including but not limited to Copyright, License in attached material. Fees charged by WENN are for WENN's services only, do not, nor are they intended to, convey to the user any ownership of Copyright, License in material. By publishing this material you expressly agree to indemnify, to hold WENN, its directors, shareholders, employees harmless from any loss, claims, damages, demands, expenses (including legal fees), any causes of action, allegation against WENN arising out of, connected in any way with publication of the material.**
Chris Tarrant (WENN)

Speaking in an honest interview with Metro newspaper, he said: “I worked like a dog for a long time and I don’t want to anymore. I don’t want to stop yet, I’m having a break and we’ll see what’s around next year.

“I get asked to do reality shows but I don’t want to be stuck on an island with Kerry Katona.”

Asked if he regrets throwing in the towel on ‘Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?’ he added: “No. We all decided we’d had enough. People have shouted ‘phone a friend!’ at me three times this morning. I’ve always left things when I’ve had a good time and it’s time to move on.”

Chris Tarrant and longtime partner Jane Bird (Photo: WENN)
Chris Tarrant and longtime partner Jane Bird

Chris admits it took him months to full get back to health and retrain his voice, which slurred following the stroke.

The 70-year-old TV star said: “I’m very lucky. A lot of people don’t get away with it. And it happened when I was on a flight from Bangkok to London. I’ve changed a few things, I’ve done what the doctors said. I don’t work as hard and don’t drink whisky any more.

“It took nine months and a lot of it was speech training as it’s a very important part of what I do. My speech was slurred for a while. And I did loads of physiotherapy hitting exercise bags. I wanted to get my strength back.”

Chris Tarrant (Photo: Vince Maher/WENN)
Chris Tarrant (Photo: Vince Maher/WENN)

Chris has just finished filming a series called ‘Extreme Railway Journeys’ and has written a book about his journey around the world.

He added: “My first trip in a plane was very nerve wracking, as the last time I’d been at Heathrow I’d left it in an ambulance. But once we’d taken off I was fine.”

‘Extreme Railway Journeys’ Christmas Special airs on December 19 on 9pm on Channel 5 and his book is out now.